It was around June last year when we had invited some of my husband's German colleagues for a dinner. Considering their intolerance for spice levels, I decided to play safe and planned an Italian dinner complete with Lasagna et al. So on my holiday to Hong Kong prior to the dinner event, I bought some packets of Lasagna sheets as I wasn't too sure where I could get them here (although I could easily find them in my nearby grocery store later). However, at the last moment, my guests requested to be served an Indian fare as they, surprisingly, loved Indian food and would often eat out in Indian joints. My poor lasagna sheets did not get their due attention ever since and had been staring into my face every time I open my pantry and making me realize that they are soon reaching their expiry date.
Finally, I got a chance to hold a High Tea get together at home to welcome some Indian friends in my neighborhood and I knew instantly what to serve them! As we were meeting over tea, I did not want to overdo the food and so prepared some lasagna roll-ups instead which are easy to serve, quick to make, good to eat, and perfect for the occasion without giving a mealtime effect!!! I happy, my Lasagna sheets happy, and my guests happy!! 😀
8 sheets of lasagna
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
For the sauce
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms (you can increase or decrease the quantity depending on the quantity of other vegetables that you are going to use)
1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 big onion finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 carrot finely chopped
Handful of peas
Handful of sweet corn kernels
1 can whole plum tomatoes squashed (if you are using fresh, use 3 medium sized juicy red tomatoes blanched and skin removed)
Red chili flakes as per taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
For the filling
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese grated/mashed (I used homemade paneer)
2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh herbs like basil/oregano/parsley or similar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Start with making the sauce as it is the most time consuming part and needs to be cooled down before using.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the garlic till lightly browned. Follow up with the onions and fry till translucent. Now add the chopped veggies one by one frying for 3-5 minutes after each addition. Lastly squash the tomatoes, either canned or freshly blanched, and add it to the pan. If using canned tomatoes, there will also be some reserved liquid. Add it to the pan. In case of fresh tomatoes, add about 1/4 cup of the water in which you blanched the tomatoes. Stir well and season as per your taste. Do not add too much salt at this point as we need to reduce the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for 25-30 minutes till the veggies are all thoroughly cooked and there is just about 3-4 tbsp of liquid in the sauce. As I was making roll ups to go with evening tea or coffee, I did not want to make the lasagna too soupy and make it look like a main course rather than a snack. However, the sauce consistency is totally upto your liking and preference.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl, take the mashed cottage cheese/ricotta cheese and all other ingredients and mix to a smooth paste. Cover and keep aside.
Let it cool. Now spread the filling on each cooked and cooled sheet and spread it out. Gently roll it up from one end to the other. Repeat for all the sheets.
If you are baking it right away, then pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius while you are assembling the roll-ups. If you are baking it at a later time, you can keep it covered with foil in the refrigerator until half an hour before baking. Then bake it in the pre heated oven for 20 minutes till the cheese is bubbling and the sauce looks slightly reduced. Take care not to over bake else you will end up with dry rubbery roll ups. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to handling temperature. Serve warm! Sorry no picture of the final dish! 😔 But I plan to make it soon again and this time I won't forget! 😜